A BURGLAR released by mistake in a prison service bungle has been told he must serve his full sentence, despite the mix-up.
Thomas Campion was allowed to walk free last October, even though he had not been due for release until this month.
Campion claims he queried the decision, but was set free any way.
On release, the 35-year-old told the Echo he spent a month rebuilding his life before authorities realised their mistake and he was returned to HMP Northumberland.
Now, the Millfield man, who had been scheduled for release on January 7, has been told he will not be set free until next month, to make up for the time he spent living back in the city after the blunder.
A pal told the Echo: “We’ve had no explanation for what happened. He’s just been locked up and told he won’t come out until February.
“He’s serving the time even though it wasn’t his fault he was released.”
Campion was originally locked up for three years in 2010 after assaulting a cleric during a break-in at a vicarage. He was released from jail on April 13, 2012, and went to live at a hostel in Sunderland.
Just 12 days later, he crept into a Sunderland University student flat with an accomplice and filled two recycling bags with kitchen equipment from inside.
He was then jailed for 15 months after pleading guilty to burglary. However, a mix-up saw prison bosses at HMP Northumberland open the gates for Campion on October 7, allowing him to return back to the city and his pregnant partner.
Campion told the Echo that after his “release” he worked hard to rehabilitate himself.
He said; “I was bullied in prison and it was awful, so I knew I never wanted to go back there.”
It is understood prison bosses realised their mistake when Campion’s probation officer contacted them. An internal investigation is under way.